Right time for car pooling in India

Before telling you what is car pooling, I want to take you back in 1995 when there were less than half dozen TV channels in India. Those days, on DD National, government regularly used to run an advertisement which was appealing public to do “car pooling” to save petrol, money, time and environment also. Nobody knows how many people really followed that appeal, but after almost 20 years in January 2016, people first time experienced the importance and benefits of car pooling in Delhi.

Car pooling was already in existence in India for last few years but the idea of carpooling highlighted more in the beginning of month January 2016 for the first time by Delhi government. Raising pollution level capital is an alarm for everybody and the supreme court of India took initiative and gave strict instruction to Delhi state government to do something to save environment and reduce pollution level immediately. Due to court’s instructions, Delhi government brought Odd-Even formula and due to odd-even formula, people found Car pooling as a best solution of their problems and therefore it got highlighted.

Carpooling is very important for Indian environment as it solves all the four major problems related to commutation, which are traffic, high pollution, insufficient transportation options and high transportation costs. With fuel prices hovering between Rs 65 and Rs 75 across India, an average office commuter spends Rs 80,000 to Rs 1,10,000 per year on fuel. With carpooling, it can be reduced by 20% to 40%, which translates to a saving of around Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000 annual.

The idea of carpooling is simple. Four people travel the same way to work daily. Each drives his own car. Why should they not travel in one car instead? They can switch between cars every day, so that each one drives one day and get three days as a passenger. They save money on fuel, feel less fatigued on the passenger day, and generally feel much happier in life. And yes, they do their bit for the environment by saving on fuel emissions.

During the car pooling campaign ran by Delhi Government in January 2016, I met my journalist friend Pankaj kumar who is working in Aajtak Channel. After meeting, when he was leaving for the home, I found that there were 4 persons in his car including Pankaj. When I asked about it, he simply said “Car pooling has just all benefits. There is no harm and loss. That’s why we all are doing car pooling and today was my turn to bring my car.”

Experts say that India will get a good share of this market projection. Delhi is not the only city where due to odd-even formula, car pooling became popular. There are some other countries practice it on regular basis like Mexico city in Mexico, Bogata in Columbia, Paris in France and Beijing in China.

The last few years have seen startups in the likes of MeBuddie, RidingO, PoolCircle, CarPoolAdda coming up in this space, but the entry of global players like Brazilian Tripda and French BlaBlaCar was the real game changer. It has brought in a sort of validation that the Indian market is ready for carpooling.

After car pooling now what’s next. Now next is bike pooling. Yes, you have read absolutely right. There are few startups in India which are working on this concept and their app is in testing mode right now. Very soon you may be experiencing bike pooling also.

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